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Jessica Brooke Kirby and Mary Ann Kluge

Older adults are often viewed by society more for what they cannot do than for what they are capable of achieving. This intrinsic case study examined the formation of a women’s 65+ volleyball team at a university for the purpose of better understanding what it was like for older women to learn a new sport and what meaning participating in competitive sport had for those who had not previously been considered athletic. Qualitative methods explored each participant’s experiences through a focus group, individual interviews, observational notes, and written reflections. Resulting team member themes included going for the gusto, belonging to a team, and support from the university. This program is a potential model to engage nonathletic older adults in sport, while forging a new and positive aging framework for aging athletes.

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Kelsey Timm, Cindra Kamphoff, Nick Galli and Stephen P. Gonzalez

The historic Boston Marathon was struck by tragedy in 2013 when two bombs exploded near the finish line during the race. This tragedy provided the opportunity to study resilience in marathon runners, whose experience overcoming minor adversities may help them respond resiliently to trauma (Dyer & Crouch, 1988). The purpose of this study was to employ qualitative methods to examine the role of resilience in helping runners overcome their experience at the 2013 Boston Marathon. The researchers used Galli and Vealey’s (2008) Conceptual Model of Sport Resilience as a guide. Sixteen 2013 Boston Marathon runners were interviewed. Participants reported experiencing a confusing, unpleasant race day, followed by months of mixed emotions and coping strategies, which were mediated by personal resources and ultimately led to positive outcomes including increased motivation, strength, new perspectives, and a greater sense of closeness in the running community.

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Benoît Lenzen, Catherine Theunissen and Marc Cloes

This exploratory study aimed to investigate elements involved in decision making in team handball live situations and to provide coaches and educators with teaching recommendations. The study was positioned within the framework of the situated action paradigm of which two aspects were of particular interest for this project: (a) the relationship between planning and action, and (b) the perception-action coordination. We used qualitative methods that linked (a) video observation of six female elite players’ actions during two championship matches and (b) self-confrontation interviews. Players’ verbalizations reflected that their decision making included the following: (a) perception (visual, auditory, tactile, proprioceptive), (b) knowledge (concepts, teammates and opponents’ characteristics, experience), (c) expectations (opponents and teammates’ intentions), and (d) contextual elements (score, power play, players on the field, match difficulty). Findings were discussed in terms of teaching implications.

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Jonathan R. Males, John H. Kerr, Joanne Thatcher and Emma Bellew

The present study investigated the psychological experiences of elite athletes in a team that failed using qualitative methods informed by reversal theory. Five athletes, from a national men’s volleyball team, playing in a European tournament completed a post-game review after each of 6 games. After the tournament, each player took part in in-depth semi-structured interviews, prompted by their post-game reviews. The results indicated that unrealistic expectations, poor team motivation, a negative coaching style, and faulty team process around game performance played an important role in the failure of this team. Also, inappropriate metamotivational states and state reversals were found to have had a negative impact on team performance. Several consultant recommendations for enhancing team motivation and functioning are identified.

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Denise M. Hill, Nic Matthews and Ruth Senior

This study used qualitative methods to explore the stressors, appraisal mechanism, emotional response, and effective/ineffective coping strategies experienced by elite rugby union referees during pressurized performances. Participants included seven male rugby union referees from the United Kingdom (Mage = 27.85, SD = 4.56) who had been officiating as full-time professionals for between 1 and 16 years (M = 4.85, SD = 5.42). Data revealed that the referees encountered a number of stressors, which were appraised initially as a ‘threat’, and elicited negatively-toned emotions. The referees were able to maintain performance standards under pressure by adopting proactive, problem- and emotion-focused coping strategies which managed effectively the stressors and their emotions. However, the use of avoidance-coping, reactive control, and informal impression management were perceived as ineffective coping strategies, and associated with poor performance and choking. Recommendations are offered to inform the psychological skills training of rugby union referees.

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Lesley Ferkins and David Shilbury

To learn more about the governance of sport organizations, this study explored what meaning board members of national sport organizations (NSOs) attach to the concept of “strategic capability”. In so doing, the inquiry also identified factors considered to constrain or enable board strategic function. This paper draws on a body of knowledge developed over 38 years on board strategic function, primarily from the commercial setting but also from the emerging body of work in the nonprofit and sport governance setting. Located within the interpretive research paradigm this study engaged a range of different qualitative methods including cognitive mapping and visual imagery. Working across two NSOs in New Zealand, four elements were generated that served as reference points in mapping out the meaning of a strategically able board. These were categorized as the need to have capable people, a frame of reference, facilitative board processes, and facilitative regional relationships.

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Michelle McCalpin, Blair Evans and Jean Côté

Competitive engineering is a process whereby sport organizations modify the rules, facilities, and equipment involved in sport to facilitate desirable athlete outcomes and experiences. Competitive engineering is being increasingly adopted by youth sport organizations with empirical evidence positively supporting its influence on skill development and performance. The purpose of this study was to explore young female athletes’ experiences in their modified soccer environment. Seventeen recreational and competitive soccer players, aged 8–11, participated in semistructured photo elicitation interviews that featured several visual qualitative methods (i.e., athlete-directed photography, drawing exercises, and pile-sorting) to facilitate insight on their sport environments. Results revealed that the athletes’ competitively engineered soccer experience was perceived as being a distinct environment that emphasized personal development, positive relationships, and the underlying enjoyment of sport. These findings shed light of how youth sport structure modifications influence the athletes’ experiences, providing practical implications to further promote positive youth sport experiences.

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Denise M. Hill, Sheldon Hanton, Nic Matthews and Scott Fleming

The study examined the effect of an evidence-based intervention on choking in golf. It is informed by the work of Hill, Hanton, Matthews and Fleming (2010a) that explored the experiences of elite golfers who either choked or excelled under pressure. The perceptions of elite golf coaches who worked with both ‘chokers’ and those who excelled, were also considered. It revealed that choking may be alleviated through the use of process goals, cognitive restructuring, imagery, simulated training and a pre/postshot routine. The present study incorporated each strategy into an intervention that was introduced to two professional golfers (aged 22) who choked under pressure regularly. Through an action research framework the impact of the intervention was evaluated over a ten month period via qualitative methods. The results indicated the intervention alleviated the participants’ choking episodes and so provides information that can be of use to practitioners working with golfers who choke.

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Denise M. Hill, Sheldon Hanton, Nic Matthews and Scott Fleming

This study explores the antecedents, mechanisms, influencing variables, and consequences of choking in sport and identifies interventions that may alleviate choking. Through the use of qualitative methods, the experiences of six elite golfers who choked frequently under pressure were examined and compared with five elite golfers who excelled frequently under pressure. The perspectives of four coaches who had worked extensively with elite golfers who had choked and excelled, were also considered. The study indicated that the participants choked as a result of distraction, which was caused by various stressors. Self-confidence, preparation, and perfectionism were identified as key influencing variables of the participants’ choking episodes, and the consequence of choking was a significant drop in performance that affected negatively future performances. Process goals, cognitive restructuring, imagery, simulated training, and a pre/postshot routine were perceived as interventions that may possibly prevent choking.

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Stephen Silverman and Mara Manson

As a part of their doctoral education, students complete a dissertation. Examining these dissertations can provide one analysis of research in a field. The primary purpose of this study was to analyze all physical education dissertations with a teaching focus that were completed between 1985 and 1999. All possible dissertations were examined through the electronic version of Dissertation Abstracts International. For the teaching dissertations (n = 201), each abstract was coded for (a) research type, (b) research focus, (c) student variable measured, (d) observation used, (e) interview used, (f) other methods used, (g) population, (h) general methodology, and (i) statistics reported/used. Most research on teaching dissertations addressed issues related to teacher effectiveness and focused on motor skill learning and attitude. There was an increase in qualitative methods from those reported in a previous study (Silverman, 1987). While there were methodological advances, many dissertations still used methods that were not informed by the research methods literature.